Amanda Jennings, a wheelchair-bound college student, and Prince Kelvan find themselves in each other’s world. On Elydir, Amanda now walks and is felt by some of the people to be their savior. On Earth, Kelvan can’t walk and is bullied by a psychopathic professor who is suspicious of his origins. Can they survive the chaos in their new environs?
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“YOU REMEMBER MR. and Mrs. Newman who used to live next door to us?” Larry asked Amanda. He sat across the table from her as they had lunch at Amanda’s favorite seafood restaurant, Lafayette’s. She had asked him out as a way of saying thanks for helping her out around the Harcort estate. She had also been feeling guilty about not keeping in touch with him once he had moved closer to her.
Amanda chuckled. “Oh, yeah. I remember them. The grouchiest old couple on the block. Don’t dare let a ball get into their yard while you’re playing in the field behind their house.”
“Yep. Or, it’s a goner. They must’ve had a room full of balls.”
“But, we still had fun. I always enjoyed it when we’d play kickball or baseball in that field.” Memories of playing with Larry and the other kids in the neighborhood came back to her. It had been so much fun. Sometimes I wish I could do stuff like that again, she thought.
“I always wanted to know why you stopped wearing the leg braces. I mean, girl, you could really get around with those things. Just as good as any of us.” Their waitress came by and checked to make sure they were still okay. Once she left, Larry asked, “Why’d you quit?”
“I’m not sure,” Amanda responded. Although she had thought about it over the years, she had not been able to answer that question herself. She looked past Larry. “You remember when I was away for a while? For about a year?”
“Yeah, I remember. Your mom and dad told my mom and dad you were having some kind of surgery. I don’t remember what for though.” He watched her as she kept fingering the gold pendant with the opal stone in the center. Touchy subject, I guess.
“It was surgery for scoliosis. It’d been done at the DuPont Institute in Wilmington, Delaware. At that time, I think it was the only place in this part of the country that did that kind of surgery. Anyway, I don’t know why but, after I got out of the hospital and came home, mom would have to push me to put the braces on to walk. I just didn’t want to anymore. I’ve thought about it once in a while but I don’t know why.”
Amanda had a look of frustration Larry did not like. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s just something I’d wondered about. That’s all. No big deal.” I was right. Touchy subject.
“That was one long year,” Amanda continued. “Because of the distance, mom and dad couldn’t come see me very often. But, if it hadn’t been for a lady there, that place would’ve been lonelier than it was. Rita Caminetsky. She was like a second mother to me. Still is, too. We still keep in touch with each other.” She held up her right arm showing a silver bracelet. “See this? She gave that to me as a birthday present.” She got quiet, remembering how much Mrs. Caminetsky had done for her.
After a few silent minutes, Amanda came out of her reverie and started back on her plate of steamed shrimp. It felt good to actually be enjoying herself for a change. She had not been out in a couple weeks. It felt nice to get away from the estate for a while. She had been working on the journals. Even after she translated passages, she found their meaning unclear. She had spent as much time contemplating as she had translating.
She had found the most interesting discovery in the locked room, which she surmised to be Harcort’s bedroom. She finally had the chance to go back and fully search the room. The room had contained his bed, a nightstand where she had found the cryptic note, a full-length mirror and a wardrobe. Next to the wardrobe sat Harcort’s wheelchair. Compared to hers, it looked like an antiquated contraption.
She had made her most interesting find in the wardrobe. Purely by accident, she had felt a loose board on the base where several pairs of shoes had been stored. She had removed the shoes and the board had come up. In a compartment lay a single journal. She had flipped through it. Besides the coded writing, she had discovered pictures of the necklace she had found in the cottage and a drawing of a robe. The robe itself hung there in the closet.
Even though the journals and the secrets they contained never strayed far from her mind, she had told herself she would not ruin her time with Larry by talking about them, or about the estate, unless he asked, which he had not.
Oh, hell. What’s he doing here? Larry happened to look up from his lunch and spotted Jack being seated by the hostess two tables behind Amanda. He watched as the hostess walked away and Jack looked over the menu. That’s right, Jack. Sit over there looking at your menu and pretend you don’t see us sitting here. Jack was okay, but something about him rubbed Larry the wrong way.
Amanda placed her napkin on the table. “Man, I’m stuffed.”
“Me, too. And, I need to get back to work.” When the waitress came by with the check, Larry asked, “Are you sure I can’t take care of this?” He reached into his pants pocket to get his wallet.
“No way. I told you. This is my treat.”
“At least let me take care of the tip.”
“Okay then,” she chided with a smile. “I don’t want to ruin your manly image. So, I’ll let you take care of the tip.”
They both laughed at that. Then, Larry stood and said, “I’ll be back in a minute. I need to hit the little boys’ room.”
While Amanda took care of the bill, she heard a voice next to her. “Isn’t this sweet. I don’t hear from you or see you for days. Then, I come here for a business lunch and what do I find? You sitting over here with Larry. And, wearing the lavender blouse and black skirt I got you for Christmas.” Amanda was startled as Jack sat down next to her.
“It’s nothing, Jack. I just took Larry out as a way of saying thanks.” Amanda had to admit Jack was right. She had not called or spent any time with him in almost a week. That was not like her but she had just been so busy lately. She hated the double standard. It was okay when his work kept him too busy to see her, but not the other way around.
“Right.” He tried not to be jealous but it came out anyway. “Thanking him for what?” He raised an eyebrow, waiting.
“Oh puleese, Jack. Give it a rest!” Why did he have to act like that? Amanda sighed in exasperation. “It’s not like that at all. I’m just thanking him for helping me around the mansion these past few days.”
“Yeah? Well, let’s talk about that for a bit. Why didn’t you ask me to help you? Why him?”
Amanda noted the way he had said “him” but let it go. She did not want to make a scene in a public place. “Because I didn’t think you’d be interested. You told me yourself you didn’t like me being out there and then you drove off in a huff.”
“You’ve become obsessed with that place. I always felt you were too deep into stuff like that anyway. But, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have helped you.”
“Jack, I’d welcome your help but I haven’t seen your car in my driveway since that time a couple of weeks ago.” Amanda knew she had made a mistake when she said it, but it came out anyway.
“But, Larry just loves all that mystical mumbo jumbo, creepy old mansion stuff. Is that it? Huh? At least I’m honest about it. I’m not stupid, Amanda. He’s just playing along, trying to cut me out. And, you’re falling for it.”
“That’s totally not true, Jack. Where are you coming up with these crazy ideas? I…I….” Stunned, Amanda could not think of anything else to say. When she collected her thoughts, she shouted, “It’s stupid. Ridiculous.” She had not meant to shout, but it had been loud enough for the other people close by to hear her. She felt embarrassed.
“Well, that’s the way I see it. Ever since you got that place, you’ve changed. And, you’re spending more time with Larry than you are with me.” Jack got up from the table.
“What’s going on here?” Larry had heard Amanda shouting as he came back from the restroom. He looked at Amanda, who looked close to tears. “If he’s bothering you–“
Jack turned to go back to his table. “I’m not bothering her. She won’t have to worry about me again. She’s all yours, Larry my man. That’s what you both want, isn’t it?”
Larry grabbed Jack’s arm. “Look, Jack. Amanda and I are just friends. And, if you can’t see that, that’s your problem…my man.”
Jack shook Larry’s hand away. “It doesn’t matter.” Jack went back and sat down at his own table. Larry started to say something more but the hostess came by with the other people joining Jack. Jack was oblivious to the glares the other customers gave him. The others at Jack’s table had not caught the whole conversation but, from their expressions, they had heard enough that showed they felt uneasy about it.
Larry felt he could not get out of the restaurant fast enough. The idea of even being in the same room with Jack aggravated him. Larry went back to Amanda and, as they got ready to leave, tried to console her. As they went past Jack’s table, Amanda wanted to say something to him. She just sighed and thought, What’s the point?
While Amanda drove on the way to Larry’s workplace, he had done his best to cheer up Amanda to make her feel better. He had even told her she could do better than Jack. She had looked at him in an odd way, almost expecting him to hint that he would be better than Jack. But, he never did. Larry had offered to come by later that evening after he got off work but she had put him off.
Once inside the mansion, she decided to finish translating the journal she had found in Harcort’s bedroom. She took the journal to her bedroom, where the other three journals from the cottage lay sprawled over her bedcovers. She crawled into bed and, within an hour, had completed the translation. Then, she went back and carefully read the journal. It contained spells, the different names of Gods and Goddesses and drawings, and descriptions of different creatures. Intrigued, she wanted to try one of the spells just to see what would happen.
She started to look for a spell she would like to try, then thought about it. “You know what you need, girl?” she asked herself. “A nice long bath would do you good right now.” She laid the new journal down next to her and gathered up the other three and stacked them on the edge of the bed. Once out of bed, she took the other three journals and secreted them in her dresser drawer under some clothes.
The preamble to the section on the basics of spells in Harcort’s journal mentioned that a cleansing bath with scented candles helped create the right atmosphere and relaxed the person who would invoke them. She retrieved Harcort’s journal from the bed, took the white robe she had found in Harcort’s wardrobe and the huge medallion she had found in the cottage and took them down the hall to the bathroom. After taking her bath, she would put them on. She felt wearing them would put her in the right mood for performing any of the spells in the journal.
As the old claw-footed bathtub filled up with warm water, she brought in some scented candles, placed them around the room and lit them. She also placed some of her lavender-scented oil and herbs into the bath water. With the tub filled and Amanda undressed, she removed the left arm from the wheelchair and slid onto a chair she had put in the tub. She raised her legs with her arms and moved them so they were in the tub and then, turning around to face the back of the chair and holding onto its arms, she lowered herself into the water. She then let the scented candles and the warm water relax her.
Stevenson pulled up behind Amanda’s van. The journal she had given to him sat on the passenger seat. “Damn Dr. Harcort,” he muttered to himself as he stared at it. Since Stevenson had gotten it, he had spent several hours each night trying to figure out the symbols, but could not get anywhere. He had tried to sweet talk Judith into taking it back and trying to decode it, but she told him she would rather be stung by scorpions than have anything else to do with him.
The old biddy had been right about one thing. There did not seem to be any set pattern to the symbols. Finally, after trying until he could not stand the aggravation any longer, he had decided to give up and take it back to the estate. Maybe if he looked at some of the other journals in the secret hiding place, something might reveal itself to him. But, to do that, he would have to sweet talk the Jennings girl. The thought annoyed him, but he had too much at stake. He would do what he had to do. He would even promise her an A for the rest of the year, even if she did not attend class. Just seeing her in class the past two weeks aggravated him.
With the journal in his jacket pocket, Stevenson went to the door and tried the handle. To his surprise, he found it open. Foolish girl. Too trusting. She’ll never get anywhere in this life with that attitude. One way or another, she would open the secret vault for him.
Her wheelchair parked nearby, Amanda sat in the third floor hall in the center of the yellow symbol. After placing the items she had brought with her on the floor, she had raised the foot pedals on the wheelchair so they were out of her way and, as she had done in the chair in the bathtub, she turned to face the back of the wheelchair and lowered herself onto the floor.
The journal had said the spells had to be done there. After her bath, she had put on the robe and the medallion. The robe had fit her well, which surprised her. Harcort looked taller in his portrait. Next to her, on the floor, lay Harcort’s journal, a bowl with scented herbs and a tea candle. She lit the candle and placed it in the bowl with the herbs.
The next thing she needed to do was place the names of the Gods and Goddesses around the yellow circle. Using her finger, at the top of the circle, in the dust on the floor, she wrote the first name from the journal. “Isah, Creator,” she whispered as she stared at the name. She wrote the second name from the list and whispered, “Shaedal, Goddess of Dreams.” Then, she wrote the third name. “Plenistor, God of War.” She went around the circle drawing each name and whispering who and what they were. “Zehannah, God of Healing and Protection. Kilessa, Goddess of Destiny. Valkieron, God of Destruction. Annas, Goddess of Faith. Laramis, Goddess of Illusion. Ashrym, God of Death.”
As she continued to relax herself and clear her mind, she opened the journal and at random came upon The Spell of Energy. She decided that would be the first one she would try. She read the words several times before saying them out loud. She faced the burning candle in the bowl, watched the flames and chanted, “Let strength flow in me, around and about. Let its tides fill me fully, within and throughout. Grant new zest and vigor for what comes my way, and grant that I eagerly seize each new day.” She repeated the spell again and began to feel a kind of tingling sensation through her arms and her upper body. She even thought she felt something happen to her legs. It almost felt like she could get up and walk. She thought about trying, but did not. That was too crazy to even consider.
The next spell she flipped to was called Silverdream. The journal said that it was a spell to find something that had been lost. Soon after she had arrived at the mansion, she had misplaced one of her favorite ink pens, given to her by her dad, engraved with her initials. He had told her when she had left for college, “Use this to write home often.” She had felt bad about losing it.
The instructions in the journal said to wave something silver over a burning candle while repeating the incantation three times. Amanda removed her silver bracelet and waved it over the candle flame as she recited, “Guiding spirits, I ask you charity. Lend me your focus and your clarity. Lead me to what I need to find. Restore that and my peace of mind.” She felt nothing and did not get any ideas where the object might be. Then, she realized she had forgotten to say the spell three times. “Guiding spirits, I ask you charity. Lend me your focus and your clarity. Lead me to where I need to find. Restore them and my peace of mind….”
Stevenson came inside the mansion and went straight to the library. He studied the opening again. Amanda had said she had poked around inside the firebox and had accidentally touched or pushed something that opened the way to the vault. He wondered if she had been lying. But, why would she do that? She appeared too goody-goody for that. He started to pick up the poker and try again to find the way in when he stopped and listened. He heard the Jennings girl’s voice coming from somewhere in the house.
After stuffing the journal up underneath the mantel, he went into the hall and over to the stairs, listening. It sounded like she was all the way up on the third floor. Who the hell is she talking to? He had not noticed any other vehicles in the driveway. Had she brought one of her idiot boyfriends home with her? Instead of the stairs, he decided to take the elevator.
Amanda was in the middle of repeating the spell for the third time when she heard the elevator doors open. Through a darkening haze, she saw Stevenson walk up to her. What’s he doing here? He said something but she could not understand him. The ringing in her ears was too loud.
Stevenson was surprised to see her wearing a robe and a huge medallion around her neck. She must have discovered something and she had not shared it with him. He was blind with anger.
“What do you think you’re doing, young lady?” he growled, almost shouting. The girl ignored him, finishing an incantation Stevenson did not understand. Then, he noticed the open journal on her lap. He bent down to take it when something happened.
He thought he was imagining things. It appeared he could look through her, almost as if she was no longer real. While trying to absorb those thoughts, he began to see another figure superimpose itself over her as her image began to fade out.
Stevenson stood there, his mouth hanging open.
Was he hallucinating?
Was he going insane?
The last thing Amanda saw was Stevenson reaching for the journal. As she fell, she grabbed it and held it tight against her chest.
Then, she fell into darkness.